A signal: IMM Cologne should take place in early 2021.
A signal: IMM Cologne should take place in early 2021. Photo: Koelnmesse / imm cologne / Fatboy , Green Living, in January 2020

With the cancellation of this year’s Kind + Jugend, which was scheduled for September 2020, the baby and first equipment industry lacks an important platform to do not only national but also international business. One of the most important areas with the largest number of exhibitors is the furniture sector. And at least for the latter, the IMM Cologne a few months later offers an opportunity to return to a new normality. Because today the trade fair management announced that the international furniture fair is to take place in mid-January 2021.

“We want to boldly take the path to the new normality together with the industry,” Matthias Pollmann, Executive Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse, sums up the task with regard to IMM Cologne. It is important to offer the industry a secure platform to maintain its position on the international market and to serve the topicality of the topic of living.

IMM Cologne and LivingKitchen will open their doors on 18 January 2021. This is certain for Pollmann and Claire Steinbrück as directors of the international furnishing show IMM Cologne. Around 70 percent of the hall space is currently occupied.

“Under the current framework conditions, we can consider this a really very good level of registrations,” explains Pollmann. “At present, we can also see an overall increase in interest in holding attendance fairs compared to previous months. The motivating insight is increasingly gaining ground that real encounters between people are indispensable for establishing and expanding business relationships,” Pollmann continues.

In addition, from the consumer’s point of view, the topic “housing” emerged as a winner from the crisis. Similar to the areas of life “camping”, “home office” and “digitalisation” as well as the furnishing relevant themes “outdoor living”, “cooking & eating” and “home spa”, home furnishing is one of the segments whose importance for people has increased as a result of the pandemic experience and which in some cases is experiencing a significant increase in demand. Even if expectations of the event character of trade fairs are certainly not as high as they have been in recent years – consumers’ expectations of the living experience are even higher.

Exhibitors can expect a fair with high safety standards for all participants. “Unfortunately, however, there is still uncertainty in the industry due to the recurring hot spots in Europe. I am therefore firmly convinced that we must now start living the ‘new normality’. We must not wait for old times to return, but must boldly shape the future together”, he said.

To ensure the safety of exhibitors and visitors, Koelnmesse has developed a concept and agreed it with the authorities in which all hygienic, medical and organisational measures are taken into account. In addition, Koelnmesse has developed a hygiene and infection protection concept that complies with the currently valid provisions of the Corona Protection Ordinance of the federal state and the requirements of the responsible health authority. In the exhibition halls, for example, used air is discharged to the outside and 100 percent new fresh air is supplied, so that aerosols cannot spread through our ventilation systems.

With the trade fair duo IMM Cologne and LivingKitchen in January 2020, the aim is to offer the sector an efficient and reliable platform so that the German and European furniture and kitchen industry does not lose ground in international competition. “From my point of view, it is not absolutely necessary for a successful re-launch to show only innovations – it is crucial to be present with your products at the trade fair. Particularly in the furnishing sector, where ‘touch and feel’ and the real experience of the products are particularly important, the cancellation of many industry trade fairs has led to a renewed demand among trade visitors for a visit to the fair,” Pollmann describes the mood.

The trade fair team goes into visitor acquisition with confidence. “Of course, the number of visitors depends on the situation in air, rail and public transport, as well as the extent to which travel restrictions are lifted. However, despite the current travel restrictions, we already reach around 90 percent of our trade visitors,” says the organisers.

“It is not only the traditionally high proportion of European interested parties that nourishes our hopes for a satisfactory number of trade visitors,” Steinbrück sums up. “Following the cancellation of Orgatec, we also expect that architects in particular, who wanted to visit this fair, will now come to the imm cologne as an alternative.

The trade fair team is also developing a hybrid event format for those participants not present on site. “We will focus on the digital expansion of our reach, learning from our digital formats this coming autumn – Gamescom and Dmexco,” Pollmann says openly. “Of course, it is in the nature of the interior design industry that the products are more difficult to communicate digitally than, for example, Games. Nevertheless, we see good approaches to streaming some of the IMM Cologne’s events, as well as high-calibre congress events. In addition, exhibitors will have the opportunity to present their products digitally and thus increase their reach. In addition to our digital matchmaking options, we not only expand our exhibitors’ business opportunities, but also reach a broad spectrum of visitors.

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Als Chefredakteur hat Martin Paff die Branchenmagazine "Childhood Business" und "Childhood Shoes" gegründet. Die Zeitschriften bieten eine Plattform, um die Akteure und Experten im Bereich der Kindermode, Kinderschuhe sowie Erstausstattung miteinander zu vernetzen, relevante Themen aufzubereiten und diese attraktiv zu vermitteln. Als Vater eines Sohnes kennt er viele Aspekte aus eigener Anschauung.